It’s been 13 years since Rihanna released her debut single, “Pon De Replay” – a track that serviced fizzy slides across school disco floors as much as it became a mainstay of daytime radio. Fast forward another 13 years, and Rihanna is now a bona fide superstar and the epitome of Big Dick Energy. No one fucks with her – she could flip a truck over by looking at it, probably, like an X-men character.
“Work” is still the ultimate summer jam; “Bitch Better Have My Money” is still the chorus playing in the back of every freelancers mind as they pop off invoices; and tracks like “Diamonds”, “Kiss It Better”, “What’s My Name” and “Umbrella” are imprinted in the public consciousness to unavoidable degrees, as though they’re comparable to the weather in being crucial to the human experience.
Wherever you look, Rihanna is there, smoking a joint or feeding a baby monkey or creating more bangers. And never has that been more apparent than in 2018 – a year in which she has starred in the number one film in the UK box office, Ocean’s 8, and also found her way into makeup bags and underwear drawers through her Fenty Beauty and Savage x Fenty ranges.
With these successes in mind, I sought to find out if the general public believe that Rihanna possesses some sort of divine quality. Heading off to the sweltering London’s Kings Cross Station, home to the UK’s first Fenty Beauty pop-up shop, I tasked myself with finding out just how powerful and omnipresent Rihanna truly is.
Shelina, 25, Naz, 22
What do you think about Rihanna?
Naz: She’s the Queen.
Naz: Yeah, her fashion’s on point. Everything’s on point. She can do no wrong.
Shelina: You can literally listen to her songs when you’re wearing her makeup, and you can wear her clothes.
Basically, you can become Rihanna?
Naz: It’s the dream to be Rihanna.
Do you consider Rihanna to be Queen of everything?
Yes, everything in life. There’s nothing that she can’t do. Like what can she not do?!
Is there any part of your life that Rihanna isn’t part of that you think she should be?
I mean literally anything. She could literally put out toilet tissue and it would be the best toilet tissue in the world!
So, Rihanna over Andrex?
Definitely! Of course, if it has her name on it, you have to go for it because you know it’s going to be the best.
Is Rihanna your overlord?
Well, I’ve been a fan since I was like 10, so she’s definitely my idol and a huge inspiration.
So, you stan?
Would you say they’re like a second family to you?
They were when I first got into her music. Now, not so much – obviously because she didn’t release music for a while, but I feel like once she does, they will be my second family again.
Are Fenty Beauty and Savage adequate substitutes for music?
Honestly, for me, it’s not the same. I feel like she’s a singer firstly, and secondly, everything else. Obviously, everything she does is amazing, there’s no doubt about that, but I do miss her music.
Is Rihanna your Queen?
Why is that?
Just the way she is. Her style, her confidence, her everything.
So, what sets her apart?
Her style is edgy and she’s not scared about what people think. She’s really endearing.
Is that what brought you here today?
Yeah, I own everything Fenty Beauty so I thought I might as well come here to buy some shit.
Do you accept Rihanna as your Lord and Saviour?
Um, no. No, not completely. Actually, not at all. I love Rihanna, I think she’s doing great, she’s revolutionary. Now all these makeup brands want to come out and try to be diverse. I’m proud of her for doing that, I support her all day.
So, you’re not a stan then in terms of her music?
No, I don’t even really know what that means, but I am definitely a supporter. I support black businesses and black women.
Do you think she’s the queen of everything at the moment?
No. This is definitely her time and she’s taking advantage of it.
Hey, why did you decide to come over to the pop up today?
Well, I love anything Rihanna or Fenty. I already have a lot of her makeup. I’m not from here, I’m from America, so this is my first pop up shop.
Did you come over specifically for the pop up?
No, I’m studying abroad, I’m a fashion major.
So, why Fenty Beauty?
First of all, it’s Rihanna. Second, she’s really inclusive with her shades of colours.
You say “It’s Rihanna”. What is it about her?
I mean, she’s just a role model. With me being a fashion major, I definitely look up to her style. I look forward to seeing what she wears.
Nuno, 25, Lina, 20, Sofia, 25
What is it about Rihanna that possesses such a divine quality?
Lina: Why are you both looking at me?! *pauses* I think it’s her confidence and the fact she does her own thing. She does what she wants to do and no one else does that. She’s an overall good lady.
It’s been two years since “Work” was released and we’re awaiting a new summer jam, do you guys want new Rihanna music?
Lina: I watched the Graham Norton Show when she said she was in the studio, but she needs to just get it out there!